Brick-Production – Hand Moulding
Bricks are one of the most common materials in building. In pre-industrial times they were produced by hand. The fresh clay was mixed with sand and water in a pit. To create a proper mixture, the ingredients were milled with the feet or with a horse mill. The clay was then formed into bricks by hand and with the help of wooden frames. The blanks were dried and eventually burned to make them durable.
At the LWL-Industriemuseum Ziegeleimuseum Lage the technique of hand moulding is still kept alive. In this recording you can hear one of the employees form a brick by hand. First she takes some readymade clay from the pit with a spade and puts it onto a wooden table. When she has enough clay, she beats it to make it softer and reduce the air within the material. Then she takes one of the wooden frames out of a bucket with water and sprinkles it with a couple of handfuls of sand. The sand and water make it easier to loosen the wet clay from the frame after moulding. She continues by putting clay into the frame bit by bit. You can hear the smacking sound of the wet clay. She beats the clay within the frame to reduce the air and make it stick together properly. In the end she uses a piece of wood to make the surface smooth and removes the frame. Now the brick is ready for drying and burning.
Sound: Hendrik Henkemeier (University of Applied Sciences Dortmund)
Photo and Video: Kathinka Engels